MILWAUKEE -- Some quick halftime thoughts from Xavier's hot start against Pittsburgh:
Today, Xavier guard Dante Jackson does one thing, and one thing only: shoot 3-pointers. Fortunately, thus far, this ability has been more than enough -- Jackson is 3-for-5 from behind the arc, which helped Xavier go on a 16-0 run. For much of the first half, Xavier looked like the complete offensive team that registered so high in adjusted offensive efficiency this season. Jordan Crawford scored 10 points 4-of-8 from the field, while Jason Love added six points.
Oh, and Crawford also added three rebounds, a steal and a block. He's not just a scorer, which is, at the risk of beating a slightly dead horse, a sign of how much he's matured since his freshman campaign two years ago at Indiana.
Speaking of balance, Pittsburgh's win over Oakland was a testament to the team's balance, as six players scored in double figures -- and leading scorer Ashton Gibbs wasn't one of them. Today? Not so balanced: Ashton Gibbs has 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting in the first half. His teammates have scored a combined three field goals. Gibbs is shooting the ball with a lot of confidence, good to see after his vacancy Friday night, but if Pitt wants to keep up with Xavier, they'll have to get more people involved.
The Xavier fans behind me are some of the most vocal, and borderline frightening, I've heard all weekend. One fan in particular is intent on informing the referees that, and I quote, "If the shoulder goes into the chest, it's a charge." This young man probably repeated this line, oh, 40 times in the first half. It got to the point where the fans around him were finishing the line with him and cheering afterward. People: Don't encourage this. It's killing me. Stop.
Speaking of the fans here, the reaction to today's two Big Ten games was disparate. Wisconsin's blowout loss to Cornell was greeted with a hush and a gasp. Michigan State's win was greeted with quite a few boos. Either a lot of people had Maryland in their bracket, or the upper-midwest-Big Ten love isn't quite as strong as I thought.